Midsize Companies Must Work Smarter, Leaner

A new IBM-sponsored study, “Inside the Midmarket: A 2009 Perspective”, found that although the economy is driving midsize companies to work smarter and leaner, many of these midsized companies are not actually decreasing their investments in IT, but maintaining current levels or increasing their IT spend to focus on strategic areas.

There is no doubt in my mind that these midmarket companies will play an important role in re-energizing the economy.  It is refreshing to see that these companies are not only resilient, but they are willing to invest in emerging technology areas that will position their companies for growth when the economy does improve.  

The study identified five important trends for midsized businesses:

  1. The highest-priority technology solution, chosen by 75 percent of respondents, is Information Management, which turns mountains of data into meaningful insights.
  2. The most pressing business challenges include increasing efficiency and productivity (80 percent), improving customer care (74 percent) and better use of information (72 percent).
  3. The impact of the economy on IT budgets has caused 53 percent to actually increase or re-prioritize their spending, with 37 percent reporting a decrease.
  4. Despite the economy, more than two-thirds of those surveyed are planning or currently implementing their top IT priorities.
  5. A majority of firms view their primary IT provider as a technology advisor or IT and business consultant, with 25 percent seeing the relationship as purely transactional.

And despite pressure to cut costs, the survey found that midsize companies are proceeding with IT investments in emerging technologies in areas such as information management, social media, and cloud computing.    Although these areas showed up lower on the scale of critical priorities, midmarket companies are actively pursuing these emerging technology areas to improve performance.  The survey shows that 79 percent intend to implement or have established goals to implement Green IT solutions, while 71 percent said they have plans to implement Web2.0/social media solutions and 69 percent said the same for cloud computing solutions.


The “Inside the Midmarket study” was based on an online survey of 1,879 respondents in 17 countries, is designed to gain insight into the business plans and challenges, growth/innovation strategies, IT purchasing trends, and industry-specific pain points of midmarket companies (100 – 999 employees).  To download the study, visit http://www.ibm.com/press/attachments/ibm_midmarket_trend_study.pdf